Chicken, Spinach and Chives Dumplings with Vegetable Soup

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Can you believe that as a Chinese Malaysian, I have never attempted to make my own dumplings? I love eating them. I love pressing like on any dumplings I see on Instagram, but I have never made the leap into making them. 

So last Sunday, I finally made that leap. And it was a glorious leap. I feel like I have discovered this whole new side of me and my exploration into making delicious savoury meals has only just begun. And it all began with a delicious bagel breakfast followed by these adorable dumplings I made for our dinner. 

I was inspired by the lovely Juliana, who has the most awesome Instagram photo roll, Our Cambridge Cottage to make my own dumplings and now that I know how easy they are to make, I have started my dream lists of dumpling fillings to make for the rest of the winter. 

So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. After a couple of hours in the kitchen, this little dish of delicious dumplings swimming in soup emerged and my gosh it was tasty. It was a completely satisfying meal that warmed us on a cold winter night.

H was so impressed that he declared he could eat them everyday, which I took literally because I ended up using the left over chicken mix to make MORE dumplings on our day off on Tuesday! We had them for lunch and again for dinner. The dumplings tasted even more amazing the next day as we found some amazing dumpling sauce and chilli oil to be used as a dipping sauce. They are both available at most Chinese/Asian Grocer stores. Talk about dumpling overload!
Move over scrabble! Making delicious homemade dumplings is a great way to stay in and hang out with family/willing friends.
I am guessing a veggie soup is hearty and super good for you. Well, at least it tastes like it would be good for you. I am no expert. But I am pretty sure it is good for you because when you drink it, you just feel like you have received the best warm bear hug - ever.

Okay, onto the fillings and how to make this baby. It is pretty straight forward and whilst I did plenty of research, I did not follow a recipe exactly. One impressive dumpling recipe that made me go "WOW! I want to make my own dumplings!"has to be from The Woks of Life. Check out their amazing 'The ONLY dumpling recipe you will ever need' post.

Seeing it was my first attempt at making dumplings, I decided to use the ingredients available to me from the supermarket and made the 'express' version of these dumplings. I will pass on a tip to marinate the the filling over night or even of for a few hours as it tastes much better after it has had time to just sit in all the seasoning and deepen its flavour. The vegetable soup was conjured up straight from watching too many episodes of Masterchef combined with memories and the knowledge how my mother would to make her famous 'ABC' vegetable soup. 

Please note that this is my first ever recipe so I would love some constructive feedback. Hoping it is easy to follow and makes sense! Below are a few handy hints when planning your homemade dumpling adventure. 

#1 - If your heart is set on having that warm fuzzy feeling from eating delicious boiled dumplings with soup, start with the soup prep first. The soup can be simmering away developing its flavor as you prep and make your dumplings.

#2 - You can of course make your own dumpling wrappers, you can find a variety of basic dumpling dough recipes online. I am hoping to share my go to recipe soon with a brand new dumpling filling recipe and my very first instructional video (look out!) If you are lazy, there are plenty of amazing varieties of wrappers out there for you to purchase. See here and here.

I would love to get some ideas for the dumpling fillings for next time. What are your favourite dumpling fillings/recipes? Have you ever attempted to make your own dumpling fillings? 


Chicken, Spinach and Chives Dumplings with Vegetable Soup
Yield: 4 servings
Click here to print the recipe


Vegetable Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes 
Cook Time: 2 hours minimum
Note: I used chicken bones to make up the stock for the soup. You can of course use vegetable stock or powdered chicken stock if you are in a real hurry 


Ingredients

1 x teaspoon of Coconut Oil
300g of chicken bones (chopped into pieces)
1 x brown onion
2 x medium potato
1 x medium carrot
1 x medium parsnip
1 x small turnip
1 x small swede
1 x medium celery stalk
6 x cups of water (see instructions)


Dumplings

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 - 10 minutes
Makes: 60 dumplings

1 x packet of store bought Gow Gee wrappers from Asian Grocery store or even at your local supermarket (Woolworth sells these)
1 x 300g of free-range chicken mince
1 x packet frozen spinach pack (250g)
1 x chopped brown onion
2 x cloves garlic finely diced
1 x red chilli
Handful of chopped chives (approx. 2 tablespoons)

Mix the wet ingredients separately to taste before adding to the fresh ingredients. If this mixture tastes good, these dumplings are going to be delicious!

¼ cup shaoxing wine (if you have never had this, I would suggest mixing it in last to taste)
¼ cup coconut oil
2 x teaspoons pure sesame oil
pinch of salt & white pepper (or to taste)
2 x tablespoons soy sauce
1 x tablespoon of dark mushroom soy sauce

Prep vegetables by chopping them into chunky portions. It doesn't really matter how you chop them as long as they are chunky and will not easily break apart whilst the soup is bubbling away. 

In a medium saucepan, heat up the coconut oil until fragrant and add the chopped chicken bones and render down any fat that might be on the chicken bones and leave on low-medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn. 

Take out the bones and left over fat and add 4 cups of water to into the saucepan, bring the stock mix back to the boil.

When the stock mix has starts boiling, add vegetables and the chicken bones back in and leave to simmer for 1.5hrs. Make sure to only add the potato in the last 20-30 minutes (depending on type of potato) as it will breakdown too much if you put it in too early. The chunkier your potato, the better it will cope when it is breaking down slowly while simmering. Leave the 2 cups of water on the side to add if the soup is getting thick towards the end of the cook time. I wanted less water and more chunky vegetables but most soups tend to average 5-6 cups of water to make 4 serves. 

For the dumplings, in a large wide bowl, I put my chicken mince and lightly seasoned it with pepper and a pinch of salt. Defrost the spinach as per packet instructions and squeeze most of the moisture out of the spinach. Add to chicken mix. Finely chop garlic, chives and chilli add to the mix. 

In a small bowl, add the soy sauce (both types), coconut oil, sesame oil and white pepper. I would suggest adding the shoaxing wine portions a little at a time and tweak the taste as you go.

Give it a good mix with a fork and taste the sauce. Tweak the quantities until you are happy with the taste (it should have a nice deep, not super salty flavour. If the wine is too over powering, add bit more dark mushroom soy sauce) Once you are happy, add the sauce mix to the chicken and spinach mix and using your hands, give it a good mix until everything is combined.

Wrap bowl in cling wrap and let sit for 20-30 minutes in the fridge or if you are preparing this in the morning (genius!) you can leave it to marinate for as long as you want until you are ready to portion your meat filling and get started on assembling the dumplings.

Once your dumplings are assembled, in a pot of boiling water, drop them 4 or 5 at a time into the boiling water and using a slotted spoon, make sure the dumplings do not stick to the bottom of the pot, they should be dancing in the bubbling water and when they are ready, the skin turns translucent (see photo) and floats up.

Add your cooked dumplings into your soup bowl and enjoy!

Final note:
Assembling dumplings is a refined art and I do not pretend to be an expert on it. Instead I would like to share with you this awesome youtube video that not only shows you exactly how to assemble up your dumplings but also has instructions on how to make your own dumpling wrappers!


I hope you have enjoyed this post. It is must more challenging to write a recipe than I had thought, for me cooking is all about instinct, feel and tasting as I go, so I found this recipe writing exercise quite a steep learning curve.

All constructive feedback is welcome. I look forward to perfecting my recipes as I embark on more food exploration adventures.

For now, I am signing off for the weekend as both my dearest friends Carolyn and Lucy are in Melbourne visiting from Sydney so I can't wait to catch up with them. On the Saturday night, H and I are also attending an 1980s themed birthday party. I am not usually great with dress up parties but with H by my side, I am feeling up to the challenge. My costume looks pretty good... I think.

So if you want to know what I got up to over the weekend, look no further than the Instagram account of in.happenstance.

Have a super awesome and amazing weekend everyone. Oh and Hi Chloe! xx

x Lynnette

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